Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Vikings

The Vikings: A History
© 2010 Robert Ferguson
464 pages
UK title: The Hammer and the Cross: A History of the Vikings



            VIKINGS!  For students of western civilization, the word has quite the mystique. Invaders from the frozen north, flying across the seas on dragons-head ships, wreaking havoc on seaboards and penetrating deep into Europe’s heartland to cause even more. Kings and priests feared them;  behind them, cities were cast into smoke. For decades they were the unholy dread of Christendom, but theirs is a history not limited to battle and chaos. The Vikings is a history of the turn of the second millennium in Europe, of not only the northern clans but of the civilizations they altered; the English, Russian, Norman, Italian, and even Arabic.  As the last of Europe’s pagans roamed far and side, from Constantinople to North America, so to does Ferguson explore not only their military and political strivings, but their religious culture as well.  Although Vikings is a weighty work, dense with information, it's presented as-such; there's no  overall idea to  tie each section together, and because their wanderings were so broad the reader is thrown from place to place in every other chapter. There's no want of detail;  Carolingian politics, variations in the Heathen religion, and even home sites at archaeological digs are given extensive consideration.  For those interested in the Vikings, and their impact on European history at this time, The Vikings will be a worthy source of information; for the  only slightly curious, however, its density may be intimidating. 

Related:
Daily Life in Anglo-Saxon England , Sally Crawford





1 comment:

  1. I picked this up a month or so ago (with the UK title of course) and will get around to reading it at some point [grin]

    I have a long time fascination with the Vikings as their are probably a good portion of their genes floating around in my DNA - my father being born in an area settled by the Vikings in the 10th Century. I keep thinking about getting my DNA tested to see if that's true but I'm unsure I want to risk discovering that my ancestry is much more mundane as apposed to just Dane.... [lol]

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